2023 Philanthropy Report

The Hertz Foundation's 2023 Philanthropy Report celebrates the incredible impact of our generous supporters, the state of philanthropy at the Hertz Foundation and what is possible when our community invests in scientific and technological innovation that strengthens the nation.

For more information, contact: Wendy Connors, Chief Development Officer, at wconnors@hertzfoundation.org.

Inside this Edition

Letter from Board Chair and President

Name a challenge facing the world today, and you will find a Hertz Fellow working on it.

For over 60 years, Hertz Fellows have been advancing groundbreaking science and technology in benefit to the country and humanity. Through the prestigious Hertz Fellowship, the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation invests early in the careers of the most promising science and technology problem-solvers, unlocking a fellow’s potential to transform our world in ways that few others can. 

Looking to our future, the Hertz Foundation’s Board of Directors recently published a bold strategic plan—the first in our organization’s history—that aspires to build on our 60–year legacy of impact and leadership in science and technology. We committed to increasing the number of fellows we support—up to 25 annually; deepening the lifelong experience of Hertz Fellows through enhanced mentorship, networking and professional development opportunities; enhancing diverse pipelines to fuel innovation; and developing mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded organizations in science, technology, national security and philanthropy, building upon inspiring work we have done with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other valued partners.

This work will require extraordinary leadership and investment. As John and Fannie Hertz demonstrated, philanthropic investment in science and technology can lead to the kind of enduring impact that we have witnessed during the past 60 years. The Hertz Foundation’s role in shaping science and technology in our country, by growing the pool of highly educated science and technology leaders, accelerating their opportunities, and building an essential ecosystem of the top scientific minds, has never been more important—and your support never more consequential. 

We are delighted to have you join us on this important journey.

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Stephen Fantone
Chair, Hertz Board of Directors
Founder and President, Optikos Corp.


Robbee Baker Kosak
President, Hertz Foundation


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Featured Hertz Fellows
J. Doyne Farmer: Pushing the Boundaries of Prediction
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Donor Profile: Steve Lipner
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Strengthening the Hertz Community

“Once a Hertz Fellow, always a Hertz Fellow” sums up the extraordinary lifelong support and involvement that is a hallmark of the Hertz Fellowship.

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A Conversation with Anna Bershteyn

Hertz Fellow Anna Bershteyn was named recipient of the 2023 Raymond Sidney Volunteer Leadership Award in honor of her personal contributions to the Hertz Community.



Announcing the David Galas Fund for Fellows

To honor Hertz Fellow and Chairman Emeritus David Galas’ incredible service and carry on his legacy in perpetuity, we are establishing the new David Galas Fund for Fellows.



Hertz Thesis Prize: Recognizing the Extraordinary

For 42 years, the Hertz Thesis Prize has been awarded to fellows whose doctoral theses present exemplary research with applications to real-world problems.



Connecting Hertz Fellows Locally

Hertz Fellows Ruby Lai and Brandon DeKosky, co-chairs of the Community Committee, are enhancing engagement around the country, across all career stages and ages.


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Why Give to the Hertz Foundation?

Gifts to the Hertz Foundation provide us with the necessary funds to do what we do best — identify and cultivate the next generation of scientists, leaders, disruptors, and creators who have the potential to transform our world in ways that few others can. Give to the Hertz Foundation today!

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  • Why Hertz?
  • Why Now?
  • Join Us
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The Hertz Foundation is proud to be recognized with the highest rating from two of the world's top sources of information and evaluation on nonprofit organizations, indicating that donors can give with confidence knowing that their gifts will contribute meaningfully to the success of our mission.

Endowed and Named Fellowships

Hertz Fellows enhance our nation’s security and economic vitality and invent a better future for all. Thank you to our generous donors, who have endowed and named Hertz Fellowships, enabling Hertz Fellows to pursue their boldest ideas without limits.

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Financial Information

Consistent annual giving is essential to achieving our mission. Thanks to gifts of all sizes from Hertz Fellows, parents and friends, important initiatives such as Hertz Fellowship programming, community activities and enhanced applicant diversity are supported from a flexible pool of funds.

Fundraising Overview

Despite of increased inflation and continued volatility in the financial markets, the Hertz Foundation experienced a very strong fundraising year, raising $5.94 million from 362 fellows, organizations and other friends, 33 of whom were new donors. Our generous community provided fellowship support for 15 new Hertz Fellows, while ensuring that the fellowship experience is unparalleled in comparison to other graduate student funding programs, and that the Hertz Community continues to thrive.

Investment Strategy and Results

The Hertz Foundation’s assets are increasing, putting us on a path to raise more funds and have an even greater outsized impact. As of June 30, 2023, our assets totaled $35.7 million—an 11.9% increase from 2021—and included $395K in cash and equivalents, $4.4 million in pledges receivable and $30.95 million in the investment portfolio. Net assets increased 10.4% in 2023. For the sixth year in a row, our endowment withdrawal rate is below 5%, maintaining the goal set by the Board of Directors in 2016 and achieved just two years later.

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Meet the 2023 Hertz Fellows

These 15 remarkable doctoral students demonstrate extraordinary potential to become foremost leaders in their fields and tackle the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world.

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Hertz Fellows Making Headlines

A snapshot of Hertz Fellows’ recent awards and recognition from leading science and technology organizations.

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Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Sloan Research Fellow
Todd R. Gingrich

American Association for the Advancement in Science
Elected Fellow
David J. Goldhaber-Gordon

Mani L. Bhaumik Breakthrough of the Year Award
John C. Mather

Elected Fellow
John F. Mitchell

American Astronomical Society
2022 Education Prize
Alexei V. Filippenko

American Chemical Society
Volunteer of the Year, Illinois-Iowa Local Section
Andrew W. Axup

Outstanding Graduate Student Presentation Award
Dina A. Sharon

Young Investigator Award
Brandon J. DeKosky

Arc Institute
Ignite Award
Michael A. Fischbach

Automotive News
All-Stars Award for EV Innovation
Nicole Schauser

Breakthrough Prize
Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers Prize
Hannah Larson

Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics
Daniel A. Spielman

New Horizons in Physics Prize
Jeffrey D. Thompson

California Institute of Technology
Distinguished Alumni Award
Kenneth S. Suslick

Fast Company
Most Creative People in Business Award
Kim S. Budil

Franklin Institute
Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award
Monika H. Schleier-Smith

George Washington University
Trachtenberg Prize for Service
W.M. Kim Roddis

Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Freeman Hrabowski Scholar
David A. Van Valen

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Guggenheim Fellow
Julius B. Lucks

Mark Foundation for Cancer Research
Emerging Leader Award
Mikhail G. Shapiro

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award
Justin M. Solomon

National Academy of Sciences
NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science
Geoffrey W. Coates

Elected Member
Leonid Kruglyak

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Jacob Rabinow Applied Research Award
Daniel H. Slichter

PAC World Magazine
Sherman Chan

Royal Society of Chemistry
HOT Article
Katie R. Mitchell-Koch

SEMI FlexTech
Workforce Development Award
Peter C. Doerschuk

Simons Foundation
Pivot Fellowship
Julia W. P. Hsu

The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society
John J. Lewandowski

The Top 100 Magazine
Top 100 Innovators and Entrepreneurs
Edward Ratner

Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation
Siebel Scholar
Bailey Flanigan

TIME Magazine
100 Leaders in AI
Dario Amodei

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For more information, contact:
Chief Development Officer, Hertz Foundation
(925) 750-8767 | wconnors@hertzfoundation.org